Dozens of Russian track athletes fail in attempt to regain eligibility

Russian javelin thrower Vera Rebrik competes in Zhukovsky on July 20.
(Pavel Golovkin / Associated Press)

Russian track athletes are continuing to struggle in their efforts to regain international eligibility, with officials denying many of their requests to compete as so-called neutrals.

The country’s entire track federation was banned in 2015 after anti-doping investigations found evidence of systemic cheating among athletes, coaches and officials.

The international track federation has, however, left the door open for individuals to compete as neutral athletes if they can provide sufficient proof that they have been reliably tested and have competed cleanly in the past.


On Wednesday, the IAAF ruled on the latest batch of applications, announcing that only three of 31 Russians were granted eligibility.

That brings the 2017 tally to 13 approved and 45 denied.

“I’m grateful to the members of the Doping Review Board for the dedication and diligence they are giving to this ongoing review process,” IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “The importance of this huge task should not be underestimated.”

Former javelin champion Vera Rebrik, 400-meter runner Kseniya Aksyonova and hurdler Vera Rudakova will now be allowed to compete as neutrals.

World champion hurdler Sergey Shubenkov and doping whistle-blower Yuliya Stepanova, an 800-meter runner, were among those previously approved.

The IAAF said 27 additional athletes remain under consideration.

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